Lansing hosts Midwest League all-stars
By Larry Hook
The Lookout Adviser
Cooley Law School Stadium, home of the Lansing Lugnuts, will play host to the 2018 Midwest League All-Star game on Tuesday, June 19.
This will be Lansing’s fourth time hosting the all-star game, but the first since 2002, according to Lugnuts President Nick Grueser. Top players from each of the 16 Midwest League teams, including the Lugnuts will play in the contest.
“If you look back at the history of the Midwest League All-Star game, there have been some significant names that have played through here,” Grueser said. “We’re looking forward to hosting it again to see the stars of tomorrow today.”
Game time is 7:05 p.m., but gates will open at 3 p.m. Fans will be able to watch live batting practice, as well as a pre-game home run derby featuring some of the all-stars.
“We’ve partnered with our friends over at LAFCU to sponsor the event,” Grueser said. “We’ve got a whole day’s worth of activities. We’re doing a block party out front. We’re bringing in a huge Ferris wheel. It’s all going to be free.
“We’re going to have some interactive games on the plaza. … We really wanted to focus the entire all-star festivities around youth and youth sports.”
Grueser said about 18 area little league teams will participate in the activities. Some will catch balls in the outfield during the pre-game home run derby. Others will take the field with the all-star starters at the beginning of the game.
Other attractions during the day will be an autograph session from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m., an all-star batting helmet replica giveaway for the first 1,000 fans who enter, free posters, and a LAFCU fireworks show after the game.
Lugnuts Retail Director Matt Hicks, who has worked for the Lugnuts since 2005, said he is looking forward to the All-Star game.
“I’ve never worked one before, so it’s exciting,” Hicks said. “I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time.”
Hicks said the Lugnuts in-stadium souvenir shop, the Nuts & Bolts Store, will have plenty of unique souvenirs for sale.
“We will have a whole All-Star game selection of merchandise: tons of T-shirts, hats, pins, baseball, shot glass, pint glass and a few other little knickknacks, all with our All-Star game logo on them,” he said. “We’ll have a huge selection.”
Lugnuts fan Andy Petersmark, 22, said he is excited about the all-star game coming to Lansing. Petersmark is a former Lugnuts’ batboy.
“With the ballpark being fully renovated now for two or three seasons, it will be good to bring (the All-Star game) to Lansing,” Petersmark said. “Hopefully it will bring in some people from out of town and kind of show the Midwest League what Lansing has to offer.
“It’s probably one of the more premier ballparks in Single A ball. It’s awesome.”
Ticket prices and other information about the Midwest League All-Star Game can be found at https://www.milb.com/lansing/